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DRAM Prices Projected to Enter Period of Downswing in 2022 as Demand Lags Behind Supply, Says TrendForce

DRAM contract prices are likely to exit a bullish period that lasted three quarters and be on the downswing in 4Q21 at a QoQ decline of 3-8%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. This decline can be attributed to not only the declining procurement activities of DRAM buyers going forward, but also the drop in DRAM spot prices ahead of contract prices. While the buying and selling sides attempt to gain the advantage in future transactions, the DRAM market's movement in 2022 will primarily be determined by suppliers' capacity expansion strategies in conjunction with potential growths in demand. The capacity expansion plans of the three largest DRAM suppliers (Samsung, SK hynix, and Micron) for 2022 are expected to remain conservative, resulting in a 17.9% growth in total DRAM bit supply next year. On the demand side, inventory levels at the moment are relatively high. Hence, DRAM bit demand is expected to grow by 16.3% next year and lag behind bit supply growth. TrendForce therefore forecasts a shift in the DRAM market next year from shortage to surplus.

Intel "Alder Lake" Silicon Variants Detailed—Reunification of the Product Lines

The 12th Gen Core "Alder Lake" microarchitecture will see Intel unify its desktop- and mobile processor IP, back to the way things were up to the 9th Gen. With its post-14 nm silicon fabrication nodes in their infancy, Intel had diverged the client processor IP across its 10th and 11th Gen Core. With 10th Gen, the company introduced "Ice Lake" for ultra-portable platforms (28 W and below), while retaining 14 nm "Comet Lake" for mainstream notebooks (28 W to 45 W); while keeping desktop exclusively with 14 nm "Comet Lake." For 11th Gen, the story is mostly similar. Cutting-edge 10 nm "Tiger Lake" now covers all mobile categories, while desktop receives an IPC upgrade, thanks to the 14 nm "Rocket Lake." The 12th Gen will see a common microarchitecture, "Alder Lake," span across all client segments, from 7 W ultra mobile, to 125 W enthusiast desktop.

This, however, doesn't mean that Intel has a one-size fits all silicon that it can carve SKUs out of. The company has developed as many as three physical dies based on "Alder Lake," which vary in CPU core counts, the size of the iGPU, and other on-die components. "Alder Lake" is a hybrid processor with a combination of larger "Golden Cove" P-cores, and smaller "Gracemont" E-cores. The P-cores are spatially large, and along with their L3 cache slices, take up a large share of the compute portion of the silicon. The E-cores come in clusters of 4 cores each.

Penetration Rate of Ice Lake CPUs in Server Market Expected to Surpass 30% by Year's End as x86 Architecture Remains Dominant, Says TrendForce

While the server industry transitions to the latest generation of processors based on the x86 platform, the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan CPUs entered mass production earlier this year and were shipped to certain customers, such as North American CSPs and telecommunication companies, at a low volume in 1Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. These processors are expected to begin seeing widespread adoption in the server market in 3Q21. TrendForce believes that Ice Lake represents a step-up in computing performance from the previous generation due to its higher scalability and support for more memory channels. On the other hand, the new normal that emerged in the post-pandemic era is expected to drive clients in the server sector to partially migrate to the Ice Lake platform, whose share in the server market is expected to surpass 30% in 4Q21.

Contract Prices of PC DRAM Expected to Decline by 0-5% in 4Q21 as Spot Prices of DRAM Modules Continue to Weaken, Says TrendForce

Now that most negotiations over contract prices of PC DRAM for 3Q21 have concluded, DRAM suppliers' low inventories and the arrival of the peak season for DRAM procurement have resulted in a 3-8% QoQ increase in PC DRAM contract prices for 3Q21, although this is a relatively muted growth compared to the 25% increase experienced in 2Q21, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. However, demand for PC DRAM in the spot market began to show signs of bearish movement in early July ahead of time, as DRAM suppliers continued to lower prices in order to adjust their DRAM inventories. Regarding the contract market, PC OEMs currently carry relatively high levels of DRAM inventory because they substantially stocked up on PC DRAM beforehand in anticipation of an upcoming shortage. Not only has PC OEMs' high DRAM inventory put downward pressure on possible price hikes for PC DRAM, but the gradual lifting of COVID-related restrictions in Europe and the US will also likely lower the overall demand for notebook computers, thereby pulling down the overall demand for PC DRAM. TrendForce therefore forecasts a 0-5% QoQ decline in PC DRAM contract prices for 4Q21.

TrendForce: Enterprise SSD Contract Prices Likely to Increase by 15% QoQ for 3Q21 Due to High SSD Demand and Short Supply of Upstream IC Components

The ramp-up of the Intel Ice Lake and AMD Milan processors is expected to not only propel growths in server shipment for two consecutive quarters from 2Q21 to 3Q21, but also drive up the share of high-density products in North American hyperscalers' enterprise SSD purchases, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. In China, procurement activities by domestic hyperscalers Alibaba and ByteDance are expected to increase on a quarterly basis as well. With the labor force gradually returning to physical offices, enterprises are now placing an increasing number of IT equipment orders, including servers, compared to 1H21. Hence, global enterprise SSD procurement capacity is expected to increase by 7% QoQ in 3Q21. Ongoing shortages in foundry capacities, however, have led to the supply of SSD components lagging behind demand. At the same time, enterprise SSD suppliers are aggressively raising the share of large-density products in their offerings in an attempt to optimize their product lines' profitability. Taking account of these factors, TrendForce expects contract prices of enterprise SSDs to undergo a staggering 15% QoQ increase for 3Q21.

Intel Reports Second-Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported second-quarter 2021 financial results. "There's never been a more exciting time to be in the semiconductor industry. The digitization of everything continues to accelerate, creating a vast growth opportunity for us and our customers across core and emerging business areas. With our scale and renewed focus on both innovation and execution, we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity, which I believe is merely the beginning of what will be a decade of sustained growth across the industry," said Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO. "Our second-quarter results show that our momentum is building, our execution is improving, and customers continue to choose us for leadership products."

NAND Flash Contract Prices Likely to Increase by 5-10% QoQ in 3Q21 as Quotes Continue to Rise, Says TrendForce

The recent wave of COVID-19 outbreaks in India has weakened sales of retail storage products such as memory cards and USB drives, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. However, demand remains fairly strong in the main application segments due to the arrival of the traditional peak season and the growth in the procurement related to data centers. Hence, the sufficiency ratio of the entire market has declined further. NAND Flash suppliers have kept their inventories at a healthy level thanks to clients' stock-up activities during the past several quarters. Moreover, the ongoing shortage of NAND Flash controller ICs continues to affect the production of finished storage products. Taking account of these demand-side and supply-side factors, TrendForce forecasts that contract prices of NAND Flash products will rise marginally for 3Q21, with QoQ increases in the range of 5-10%.

AAEON Announces ARES-WHI0 Server Board

AAEON, an industry leader of AI and IOT solutions, is excited to celebrate the launch of Intel's latest scalable platform, the 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors (formerly Ice Lake-SP). As an associate member of the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance, AAEON is excited to bring this new technology to market with the ARES-WHI0 industrial ATX server board and other future products.

The 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors deliver the next generation of high-end computing performance and support for vital data integrity and security technologies. This new generation of Xeon SP brings higher processing speeds and Intel's Deep Learning Boost technology, allowing for greater acceleration and more efficient processing for AI server applications.

GCP, AWS Projected to Become Main Drivers of Global Server Demand with 25-30% YoY Increase in Server Procurement, Says TrendForce

Thanks to their flexible pricing schemes and diverse service offerings, CSPs have been a direct, major driver of enterprise demand for cloud services, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. As such, the rise of CSPs have in turn brought about a gradual shift in the prevailing business model of server supply chains from sales of traditional branded servers (that is, server OEMs) to ODM Direct sales instead. Incidentally, the global public cloud market operates as an oligopoly dominated by North American companies including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which collectively possess an above-50% share in this market. More specifically, GCP and AWS are the most aggressive in their data center build-outs. Each of these two companies is expected to increase its server procurement by 25-30% YoY this year, followed closely by Azure.

Intel CEO on NVIDIA CPUs: They Are Responding to Us

NVIDIA has recently announced the company's first standalone Grace CPU that will come out as a product in 2023. NVIDIA has designed Grace on Arm ISA, likely ARM v9, to represent a new way that data centers are built and deliver a whole new level of HPC and AI performance. However, the CPU competition in a data center space is considered one of the hardest markets to enter. Usually, the market is a duopoly between Intel and AMD, which supply x86 processors to server vendors. In the past few years, there have been few Arm CPUs that managed to enter the data canter space, however, NVIDIA is aiming to deliver much more performance and grab a bigger piece of the market.

As a self-proclaimed leader in AI, Intel is facing hard competition from NVIDIA in the coming years. In an interview with Fortune, Intel's new CEO Pat Gelsinger has talked about NVIDIA and how the company sees the competition between the two. Mr. Gelsinger is claiming that Intel is a leader in CPUs that feature AI acceleration built in the chip and that they are not playing defense, but rather offense against NVIDIA. You can check out the whole quote from the interview below.

Intel's Upcoming Sapphire Rapids Server Processors to Feature up to 56 Cores with HBM Memory

Intel has just launched its Ice Lake-SP lineup of Xeon Scalable processors, featuring the new Sunny Cove CPU core design. Built on the 10 nm node, these processors represent Intel's first 10 nm shipping product designed for enterprise. However, there is another 10 nm product going to be released for enterprise users. Intel is already preparing the Sapphire Rapids generation of Xeon processors and today we get to see more details about it. Thanks to the anonymous tip that VideoCardz received, we have a bit more details like core count, memory configurations, and connectivity options. And Sapphire Rapids is shaping up to be a very competitive platform. Do note that the slide is a bit older, however, it contains useful information.

The lineup will top at 56 cores with 112 threads, where this processor will carry a TDP of 350 Watts, notably higher than its predecessors. Perhaps one of the most interesting notes from the slide is the department of memory. The new platform will make a debut of DDR5 standard and bring higher capacities with higher speeds. Along with the new protocol, the chiplet design of Sapphire Rapids will bring HBM2E memory to CPUs, with up to 64 GBs of it per socket/processor. The PCIe 5.0 standard will also be present with 80 lanes, accompanying four Intel UPI 2.0 links. Intel is also supposed to extend the x86_64 configuration here with AMX/TMUL extensions for better INT8 and BFloat16 processing.

Intel Announces 10 nm Third Gen Xeon Scalable Processors "Ice Lake"

Intel today launched its most advanced, highest performance data center platform optimized to power the industry's broadest range of workloads—from the cloud to the network to the intelligent edge. New 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named "Ice Lake") are the foundation of Intel's data center platform, enabling customers to capitalize on some of the most significant business opportunities today by leveraging the power of AI.

New 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors deliver a significant performance increase compared with the prior generation, with an average 46% improvement on popular data center workloads. The processors also add new and enhanced platform capabilities including Intel SGX for built-in security, and Intel Crypto Acceleration and Intel DL Boost for AI acceleration. These new capabilities, combined with Intel's broad portfolio of Intel Select Solutions and Intel Market Ready Solutions, enable customers to accelerate deployments across cloud, AI, enterprise, HPC, networking, security and edge applications.

Intel 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable Launch Event Liveblog

Intel today is launching its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable processor bringing its first major IPC uplift to the enterprise space in five years. The Xeon Scalable processors are built on the 10 nm SuperFin process, and the "Ice Lake-SP" microarchitecture that bring new "Sunny Cove" CPU cores to the server space, including support for PCI-Express 4.0 I/O capabilities, a wider memory interface, and a more feature-rich AVX-512 instruction-set, along with DLBoost for HPC. join us for its launch live-blog.

14:59 UTC: CEO Pat Gelsinger and Data Platforms group head Navin Shenoy are expected to take centerstage. Xeon and memory group head Lisa Spelman could announce relevant platform products. This is Gelsinger's first major launch since taking office.

15:01 UTC: What will you solve for?

Intel to Launch 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Portfolio on April 6

Intel today revealed that it will launch its 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable processor series at an online event titled "How Wonderful Gets Done 2021," on April 6, 2021. This will be one of the first major media events headed by Intel's new CEO, Pat Gelsinger. Besides the processor launch, Intel is expected to detail many of its advances in the enterprise space, particularly in the areas of 5G infrastructure rollout, edge computing, and AI/HPC. The 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processors are based on the new 10 nm "Ice Lake-SP" silicon, heralding the company's first CPU core IPC gain in the server space since 2015. The processors also introduce new I/O capabilities, such as PCI-Express 4.0.

HPE Lists 40-Core Intel Ice Lake-SP Xeon Server Processor

Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the company focused on making enterprise hardware and software, has today mistakenly listed some of Intel's upcoming 3rd generation Xeon Scalable processors. Called Ice Lake-SP, the latest server processor generation is expected to launch sometime in the coming days, with a possible launch date being the March 23rd "Intel Unleashed" webcast. The next generation of processors will finally bring a new vector of technologies Intel needs in server space. That means the support for PCIe 4.0 protocol for higher speed I/O and octa-channel DDR4 memory controller for much greater bandwidth. The CPU lineup will for the first time use Intel's advanced 10 nm node called 10 nm SuperFin.

Today, in the leaked HPE listing, we get to see some of the Xeon models Intel plans to launch. Starting from 32-core models, all the way to 40-core models, all SKUs above 28 cores are supposed to use dual die configuration to achieve high core counts. The limit of a single die is 28 cores. HPE listed a few models, with the highest-end one being the Intel Xeon Platinum XCC 8380 processor. It features 40 cores with 80 threads and a running frequency of 2.3 GHz. If you are wondering about TDP, it looks like the 10 nm SuperFin process is giving good results, as the CPU is rated only for 270 Watts of power.

Intel Starts Production of 10nm Xeon Scalable Processors

Intel highlighted the company's focus on execution of core products and showcased the company's broader portfolio, in addition to sharing more on what's coming in the year ahead. As part of its disclosures, Intel announced the recent production of its 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors (code-named "Ice Lake") with volume ramp taking place during the first quarter of 2021. Intel's 10 nm Xeon Scalable processors feature architectural and platform innovations that boost performance, security and operational efficiency within data centers.

"Today marks a significant milestone for Intel as we continue to accelerate the delivery of our 10 nm products and maintain an intense focus on delivering a predictable cadence of leadership products for our customers," said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms Group at Intel. "Our 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform represents a strategic part of our data center strategy and one that we've created alongside some of our biggest customers to enable the data center of tomorrow."

Oversupply to Continue Affecting NAND Flash Prices, with 10-15% QoQ Decline Expected in 1Q21, Says TrendForce

The percentage distribution of 2021 NAND Flash bit demand by application currently shows that client SSD accounts for 31%, enterprise SSD 20%, eMMC/UFS 41%, and NAND wafer 8%, according to TrendForce's latest investigations. TrendForce expects NAND Flash ASP to undergo QoQ declines throughout 2021, since the number of NAND suppliers far exceeds DRAM suppliers, and the bit supply remains high. As Samsung, YMTC, SK Hynix, and Intel actively expand their NAND Flash bit output in 1Q21, the oversupply situation in the industry will become more severe, with a forecasted 6% QoQ increase in NAND Flash bit output and a 10-15% QoQ decline in NAND Flash ASP in 1Q21.

Intel 500 Series Motherboards to Supposedly Arrive on January 11th

Intel needs a platform refresh to battle the competition, mainly speaking to battle AMD and its Ryzen 5000 series processors. That is why the company is developing 500 series of chipsets covering the low-end (H510), mid-range (B560), and high-end markets (Z590) that pair with the upcoming Rocket Lake-S processor generation. Dubbed 11th generation of Core processors, the 11th generation of Intel Core CPUs are going to be built on Intel's refined 14 nm process. The CPUs are supposed to feature a Cypress Cove core, which is a backport of Golden Cove found in Ice Lake. The 500 series motherboards are the last in the DDR4 generation, launching in the timeframe when DDR5 is supposed to take over in the coming years.

Today, thanks to Weixin, a Chinese media outlet that posted a short story on the WeChat platform, we have information about the launch date of these new chipsets. According to the source, we are allegedly going to see these new chipsets on January 11th, the day that Intel CES 2021 event is supposed to happen. The platform will include a range of motherboards from Intel's partners and is supposed to bring support for the much-needed PCIe 4.0 protocol. The launch date should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, before taking it as a fact.

Intel Ice Lake-SP Processor Spotted with 36 Cores and 3.6 GHz Base Clock

Today, in the latest GeekBench 5 submission by ASUS, we have discovered something rather interesting. Intel's Ice Lake-SP processors were rumored to arrive with up to 28 cores and 56 threads at maximum, on a single chip. That was due to the 10 nm process used to make these chips, with suspicions that the yield of the node was not good enough to make any higher core count parts. Thanks to the GB5 listing, discovered by Leakbench on Twitter, the Intel Ice Lake-SP CPU engineering sample appeared with an amazing 36 cores with 72 threads. This is supposedly Intel's efforts to try and match the 64 cores and 128 threads of AMD's EPYC "Rome" CPUs, which are winning many server applications due to their performance.

The 36C/72T chip was paired with another similar chip in a 2P dual-socket configuration, which made the total core count rise to 72 cores and 144 threads, running inside of Asustek's Y4R-A1-ASUS-G1 server. The system was reporting a clock frequency of 3.6 GHz base speed, which means that the possible boost clocks could be higher. The CPU features a 1.25 MB level two (L2) cache per core (45 MB in total) and 54 MB of unified level three (L3) cache. That makes this CPU core quite an improvement over the past Cooper Lake generation. We are waiting for more information about these CPUs, and we are going to report on it in the coming time.

Intel Rocket Lake-S CPU Benchmarked: Up to 22% Faster Compared to the Previous Generation

Just a few days ago, Intel has decided to surprise us and give out information about its upcoming Rocket Lake-S platform designed for desktop users. Arriving early next year (Q1) the Rocket Lake-S platform is yet another iteration of the company's 14 nm node. However, this time we are getting some real system changes with a new architecture design. Backporting its Golden Cove core to 14 nm, Intel has named this new core type Cypress Cove. What used to be the heart of Ice Lake CPUs, is now powering the Rocket Lake-S platform. Besides the new core, there are other features of the platform like PCIe 4.0, new Xe graphics, and updated media codecs. You can check that out here.

Today, we have gotten the first benchmarks of the Intel Rocket Lake-S system. In the Userbenchmark bench, an unknown eight-core Rocket Lake CPU has been compared to Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake-S processors. The Rocket Lake engineering sample ran at 4.2 GHz while scoring a single-core score of 179. Compared to the Core i9-10900K that runs at 5.3 GHz, which scored 152 points, the Cypress Cove design is 18% faster. And if the new design is compared to the equivalent 8C/16T Compet Lake CPU like Core i7-10700K clocked at 5.1 GHz and scoring 148 points, the new CPU uarch is up to 22% faster. This represents massive single-threaded performance increases, however, please take the information with a grain of salt, as we wait for the official reviews.

Intel Confirms Rocket Lake-S Features Cypress Cove with Double-Digit IPC Increase

Today, Intel has decided to surprise us and give an update to its upcoming CPU lineup for desktop. With the 11th generation, Core CPUs codenamed Rocket Lake-S, Intel is preparing to launch the new lineup in the first quarter of 2021. This means that we are just a few months away from this launch. When it comes to the architecture of these new processors, they are going to be based on a special Cypress Cove design. Gone are the days of Skylake-based designs that were present from the 6th to 10th generation processors. The Cypress Cove, as Intel calls it, is an Ice Lake adaptation. Contrary to the previous rumors, it is not an adaptation of Tiger Lake Willow Cove, but rather Ice Lake Sunny Cove.

The CPU instruction per cycle (IPC) is said to grow in double-digits, meaning that the desktop users are finally going to see an improvement that is not only frequency-based. While we do not know the numbers yet, we can expect them to be better than the current 10th gen parts. For the first time on the Intel platform for desktops, we will see the adoption of PCIe 4.0 chipset, which will allow for much faster SSD speeds and support the latest GPUs, specifically, there will be 20 PCIe 4.0 lanes coming from the CPU only. The CPU will be paired with 12th generation Xe graphics, like the one found in Tiger Lake CPUs. Other technologies such as Deep Learning Boost and VNNI, Quick Sync Video, and better overclocking tuning will be present as well. Interesting thing to note here is that the 10C/20T Core i9-10900K has a PL1 headroom of 125 W, and 250 W in PL2. However, the 8C/16T Rocket Lake-S CPU also features 125 W headroom in PL1, and 250 W in PL2. This indicates that the new Cypress Cove design runs hotter than the previous generation.

Intel Introduces new Security Technologies for 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Platform, Code-named "Ice Lake"

Intel today unveiled the suite of new security features for the upcoming 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable platform, code-named "Ice Lake." Intel is doubling down on its Security First Pledge, bringing its pioneering and proven Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX) to the full spectrum of Ice Lake platforms, along with new features that include Intel Total Memory Encryption (Intel TME), Intel Platform Firmware Resilience (Intel PFR) and new cryptographic accelerators to strengthen the platform and improve the overall confidentiality and integrity of data.

Data is a critical asset both in terms of the business value it may yield and the personal information that must be protected, so cybersecurity is a top concern. The security features in Ice Lake enable Intel's customers to develop solutions that help improve their security posture and reduce risks related to privacy and compliance, such as regulated data in financial services and healthcare.

Intel 10 nm Ice Lake-SP Server Processors Reportedly Delayed

Intel 10 nm products have seen massive delays over the years, and Intel has built many IPs on the new node, however, not many of them have seen the light of the day due to problems the company has experienced with the manufacturing of the new node. That has caused delays in product shipments in the past, meaning that the time for 10 nm is just ahead. According to the latest DigiTimes Taiwan report, we have information that Intel is going to delay its Ice Lake-SP server processors manufactured on a 10 nm node. And it is going to be a whole quarter late according to the report. Instead of launching in Q4 this year, we can expect to see new processors in Q1 of 2021. It is yet unknown whatever the launch will happen at the beginning of Q1 or its end, however, we will report on it as we hear more information.

Update: DigiTimes has also released another report regarding server shipments. It is reported that server vendors are decelerating the shipments as they are making fewer orders in Q4 to wait for the new Intel CPUs. Judging by this move, the demand for these new processors is going to be rather high and the supply chain is preparing slowly for it.

Intel Whitley Platform for Xeon "Ice Lake-SP" Processors Pictured

Here's is the first schematic of Intel's upcoming "Whitley" enterprise platform for the upcoming Xeon Scalable "Ice Lake-SP" processors, courtesy momomo_us. The platform sees the introduction of the new LGA4189 socket necessitated by Intel increasing the memory channels per socket to 8, compared to 6 of the current-gen "Cascade Lake-SP." The new platform also sees the introduction of PCI-Express gen 4.0 bus, with each socket putting out up to 64 PCI-Express gen 4.0 CPU-attached lanes. This are typically wired out as three x16 slots, two x8 slots, an x4 chipset bus, and a CPU-attached 10 GbE controller.

The processor supports up to 8 memory channels running at DDR4-3200 with ECC. The other key component of the platform is the Intel C621A PCH. The C621A talks to the "Ice Lake-SP" processor over a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 link, and appears to retain gen 3.0 fabric from the older generation C621. momomo_us also revealed that the 10 nm "Ice Lake-SP" processor could have TDP of up to 270 W.
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